FCA Response to Calls For Reforms to the Board and Membership Criteria

A message from FCA Executive Chair, Bruce Billson

Some of you may be aware of calls from Brumby's joint-founder Michael Sherlock for reforms to the FCA Board and membership criteria. Below is the FCA's response to these suggestions.

Statement from Bruce Billson, Executive Chairman, Franchise Council of Australia re Michael Sherlock's suggestions of revising the FCA board structure:

The Franchise Council of Australia (FCA) is currently consulting with members and partners on series of initiatives that have been built around member input and expert advice endorsed by the FCA Board in December.

We have been seeking and welcome input and discussion which has been provided via a number of member meetings, consultations and a webinar and are encouraged by the feedback to the FCA's thought leadership and decisive plan of action initiatives.

The comprehensive package of initiatives addresses franchisee, franchisor and supplier engagement; Board and governance arrangements; advisory structures; information services; member standards and system accreditation; lifting awareness and understanding of the franchise model of enterprise and why it significantly increases the prospects for small business success; assisting members of the franchise community make good use of the comprehensive regulatory and dispute resolution framework; and steps to see what can be learned from recent high profile cases that have focused on instances where people have had a poor outcome from their franchise experience.

The FCA's leadership agenda builds from the belief that successful franchisees are the foundation of a healthy franchise sector.

It's hard to know if Mr Sherlock's views are an endorsement of this reform agenda or a criticism as it wasn't until a media outlet on-forwarded his release that he had views that I became aware of them, as no strong opinions were shared with me when we last month were both part of a FCA-facilitated delegation to an international franchise convention and seem to reflect a distant and out-dated perspective.

Members have welcomed and contributed positively to opportunities to be involved in the formulation of a number of bold initiatives.

FCA membership opens up a range of different ways of engaging with peers and the broader franchise community, which are being constantly enhanced.

The FCA membership is overwhelmingly small business but also includes numerous bigger and long-established franchise brands. We welcome the insights these large and established franchise brands can bring to the FCA and broader membership, and conversely seek to provide value to these brands via a range of engagement opportunities.

The FCA believes that membership provides franchise brands and franchisee businesses of all sizes and stages of their development and ambitions access to valuable resources, educational and networking opportunities benefits that can only enhance their prospects of growth and implementing sound and ethical business practices.

Currently, the FCA Board is elected by the membership and with the exception of myself, who has been appointed as an independent director and the Executive Chair with a clear mandate to implement change and reform.

The election process that enables our members to shape the Board strongly encourages franchisee and franchisor representation on the FCA board.

The FCA has been and continues to be well-served by its active and engaged Board, including non-franchisee and non-franchisor directors chosen by the membership for their experience, insights, availability and capacity to contribute.

We'll continue to engage our members and the broader franchise community on bold steps to ensure that franchising continues to be the best model of entrepreneurship and supports small business ownership, employment and economic growth in Australia, and that the FCA strives to recognise, promote and support best-practice franchising.

Once again, we will continue to provide you with regular action updates as we work towards ensuring an even brighter future for franchising.

Yours sincerely,

The Hon Bruce Billson
Executive Chairman Franchise Council of Australia

FCA Response to Calls For Reforms to the Board and Membership Criteria